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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 12, 2011 5:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

On the subject of 1970 I wonder what you and others think about the Dark Stars performed that year.I find 70' to be a down year for the song,out of the 20 performed I have listened to the 16 which I found available,from that batch I thought 2/8,5/15,9/17 were of some interest.The ones I found to be a cut above the rest were naturally 2/11 with all it's guests and what it lead into,even though it was short(about 13:00),it packed quite a punch.I will list the other 3 with a description of the action.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-10-11.aud.cotsman.9500.sbeok.shnf

This is my favorite for the year(with just the GD),the file is a hissy aud with some conversation amongst the crowd during the quiet parts,but the music is all there if you care to listen,I try not get hung up on the quality when it can't be helped.As for the performance it gets interesting at about the 7 minute mark as some feedback-ish space with clattering percussion leads into Jerry soft picking,a sort of Asian feel ->9:00 still in Asian space mode(sounds like a shamisen a 3 stringed Japanese banjo like instrument),the music gets ominous->11:00 stabbing,throbbing space->riffy jam,good drums,Phil pulses->13:00 Phil out front,band jams along->Jer/Phil on top of theme jam->UJB jam-> 16:00 thumpy theme jam->some nice Jer strums->theme->2nd verse->transition jam->20:29.I like this one not so much for what it is,but for the ideas tossed around in the 7-13 minute segment.

http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-09-19.sbd.kaplan.5217.sbeok.shnf

At about 10:30 some swirling noise,foghorn blasts and some very pretty guitar strums against a soft spacey background kick off a full band space at 13:00 the guitars are on it Jer on top,killer Weir rhythm underneath-> 15:00 Jer is flowing,solid drums and cymbals,Weir sounds great->16:00 Bob states UJB theme,Jer jumps in,real pretty jam-> 18:30 Jer riffs on main theme,Weir comps Jerry's licks,Phil splashes around->nice Jer led jam,Weir and Jer ring out->21:00 Jer re-states theme->edgy Jer,sharp tone->23:45 2nd verse-> transition jam ->25:23

http://www.archive.org/details/gd70-11-05.aud.warner.17182.sbeok.shnf

9 minutes in slow winding guitars,deep bass and percussive weirdness find the boys spacin' out->11:00 deep space throb-> soft pretty pickin'->12:48 phil plays bass licks that sound like Dazed and Confused->13:00 edgy Jerry,nice round,deep Phil,sounds really good,sort of on theme->15:00 fairly standard jamming to end at 21:06.I thought the jamming between the 9-15 minute mark was interesting.

This post was modified by jerlouvis on 2011-07-13 00:23:38

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jul 12, 2011 5:35pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Seek out this source:
http://www.archive.org/details/gd1970-02-13.sbd.miller.fix-97613.97639.sbeok.flac16

It is not available here as parts were released as DP4.

Dark Star>TIFTOO>Lovelight nearly ninety minutes of heaven. Three 30 min jams, all of very different flavors. The Dark Star features a fantastic Feelin' Groovy Jam.

If you don't have access to the show let me know.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 12, 2011 9:26pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Elbow,thanks for the generous offer,but I just need to pick up a used copy of DP4 or torrent it,with the wealth of recordings here and on the net that one just keeps escaping my attention.I think my ex-girlfriend got it in the settlement,it settled in one of her boxes when she gathered her stuff,she loved that show.

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Poster: elbow1126 Date: Jul 13, 2011 3:17am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

If you can torrent, i would go for both the 2-13 and 2-14 early and late shows over used copy of DP4. Charlie Miller put out some lovely transfers of both a couple of years back. I think i agree with your ex, 2-13 is also one of my favorite shows.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 13, 2011 9:55am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Good heads up Elbow,I'm still locked in the 20th century head space when it comes to technology.I have to get used to the varying sources and quality available.

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Poster: Cliff Hucker Date: Jul 12, 2011 5:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

I think a few heads here might tend to disagree with your opinion that 1970 was an off year for Dark Star.

William Tell along with not just a few others consider the 9/19/70 Star as their favorite all-time rendition. And 2/13/70 is a classic and certainly among the very best Dark Star's ever performed!

Micah and others will tell you that the 6/24/70 Star is among the greatest of all-time, and it's hard to argue against them.

11/8/70 is an excellent Dark Star with it's Main Ten Jam, and the abreviated or cut renditions in Honolulu (1/23/70) and at Pirates World (3/24/70) are excellent as well.

This weeks Taper's Section features a superb Dark Star from 1/2/70 at the Fillmore East that you should definately check out...

http://www.dead.net/features/july-11-july-17-2011

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 12, 2011 8:23pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Skuzzlebutt and Cliff,I will reply to both of you in this post.I can see wherepeople would completely disagree with my opinion,and I respectfully will stick to my guns.First and foremost there is no Keith in 1970,secondly as far as the more adventurous material in 70' and 71' I felt it lacked commitment and passion,sort of like they were in a holding pattern.As for some of the versions you mentioned I have of course heard 2/13 but lost my copy of DP4 to my ex-girlfriend and never replaced it do a proper review,while I enjoy 6/24 the way it is chopped up ruins it to a certain extent,frankly I find 11/8 to be boring.I am not a fan of those already formed jams such as the Main Ten,Tighten Up,UJB,they feel forced and out of place,and reflect a lack of creativity to me.My preference is for dissonance and pushing the envelope,it can't get twisted enough for my tastes,I have to say I have never heard a Dark Star from the 72'-74' era that I thought was tedious.I find the versions prior to Keith joining the band to be building blocks to what it became,thats not to say there weren't many classic versions in that time span,I just think the song found it's voice in the 72'-74' performances.Skuzzlebutt you stated your case nicely and made good points,I think our tastes just differ somewhat.Cliff as always you bring strong information and a wealth of knowledge to any conversation here,even if we don't always see eye to eye.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 13, 2011 12:25am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

That is a nicely expressed answer, and definitely one that makes a good case for your way of hearing the music. This touches on some really deep questions of the aesthetics of improvisation!

There is a certain ideal where you are looking for the most discovery, the most openness, where everything, as you say, is invented right in the moment it is played. Much earlier in my listening history, when I only had about 1-2 shows per year, I thought that the Feeling Groovy/UJB jam in 2/13/70 was a one-time thing that was purely spontaneous, and the same with a lot of other things I heard from other shows in other years that I can now recognize as known themes, or common jams like NFA->GDTRFB->NFA.

I can never come to a settled perspective, because I love both free exploration, and the way that themes can act as a focal point for improvisation. Sometimes I think there is a way in which the use of themes as "landmarks" within jams can serve to inspire the wild moments and give them impact. I talk about 12/2/73 constantly, but the Playin->MLB that night is one of my musical ideals, and the contrast between chaos and structure seems to make both parts of the jam more meaningful to me.

At the same time, I do prefer the Dark Stars from 1972 overall to those of 1970, and the fact that the 70 versions seem to have more of a "formula" is a big part of that.

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 13, 2011 9:11am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Let me preface this post by saying I really love Dark Star and find it an endlessly interesting,brilliant piece of music,and enjoy almost every version that the band played between 68'-74' and a few later ones.I can completely appreciate LIA and BK's take on the more structured,less dense versions,also having to take into account the the overall sound of the band and it's different lineups affect on the song.It isn't like I need all noise and bombast,I enjoy the quiet,introspective feel of the 70' versions,I just like the feeling of anything could jump off at any second vibe of the later versions.As for the Feeling Groovy/UJB,Tighten Up,once again it isn't that I don't like them,to the contrary there are some that I find very exciting and a perfect fit,it feels like they became a crutch,and if they were going to do that why not widen the scope of songs quoted,I heard them reference Grazing in the Grass once or twice,I just found the frequency of those jams dulled their impact.Bk made a very good point in stating how themes can act as focal point for improvisation and thus effect the improvisation,that is something I am going to have to explore by listening to different versions with this in mind.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 13, 2011 1:48pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

It is true that Dark Star was somewhat "static" in 1970 - there is a formula there, and it doesn't 'develop' that much between January & November, as far as new improvisational areas being discovered, outside of the "space" section.
Of course, someone like me might argue that it stayed that way for a year because it was just right! Then again, the fact that the band only played Dark Star five times between Dec '70 and Aug '71 indicates that they may have been getting tired of the 'formula' themselves - in that period, the Other One became the main testing-ground for new improv styles.

The band seems to have felt that a themed jam like Feelin' Groovy or Tighten Up was an essential part of Dark Star at that point; they never fail to bring one in. One funny example is 2/8/70, where they manage to get all the way to the reentry to the verse without a thematic jam, then seem to realize "oops, we forgot something!" and go back to Feelin' Groovy for a bit. The 2/14/70 version is even more blatant, as Weir & Lesh try to drop in Feelin' Groovy no less than three times in the jam - Garcia keeps warding them off, but finally succumbs. (The Taping Compendium review speculates that he was intentionally trying to avoid 'repeating' the Star from the previous night. It's examples like these, though, where I agree the band may be struggling a bit and not finding the flow - though those can be some of the most interesting versions.)

So it may have been a crutch, but it was a planned & deliberate one that the band thought worked at the time. Remember, these themed jams are frequent & familiar to us, but would have been new to 1970 audiences, who seem to have received them rapturously. Check out the way the crowd cheers the jams in the 4/24 or 9/17 versions, for instance!

(And, though constantly returning to the Feelin' Groovy jam is kind of a 'cheat' from true improvisation, the band obviously loved it - after they stopped playing it in Dark Star, they put in the China>Rider bridge for two years in '73/74 - and audiences clearly went ecstatic when they heard it there.)

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-07-13 20:48:03

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 13, 2011 1:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Listening back as a fully realized history definitely puts a different spin on it,but there is nothing we can do about that.I'm sure that seeing it live was an exciting and in the moment experience,and I would think the band might have viewed it as a work in progress,but looking back as a body of work we run it through our filters and hear it how we hear it.What you were saying about the band forcing in the themes is how I heard it,when it wasn't organic it seemed forced and unnecessary.I feel that a composition designed to be open ended and exploratory doesn't need anymore touchstones than the theme that already exists in the song and the set vibe around the vocal parts.
I believe the scarcity of the song in that Dec.-Aug span reflected a lack of knowing where to go with it and maybe some boredom setting in,I also felt that the Other One was equally lacking in 70'-71',Keith's arrival breathed new life into both songs.

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 13, 2011 1:49pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

On the subject of audience reaction to thematic jams, "Tighten Up" is a very interesting case, I think. On the 7/12/70 that I posted about to start the thread, some people in the audience more or less freak out during the Tighten Up in Dancin, and I really don't know if they are recognizing the riff from a fairly popular and well-known record, or if they are just responding to the music.

I think the real answer is actually both, and that the recognition was subconscious, not conscious, for most listeners. The Dead's "Tighten Up" jams certainly don't sound like a cover of the Archie Bell tune, and its not just the absence of vocals. Jerry's lead lines in the Tighten Up jam seem to be entirely his own, I don't hear them as originating from the recording - it seems just the rhythm guitar part is what the GD took.

It is natural when listening to music to focus on the "leading melody" and Jerry's guitar usually has that role in the Dead's jams. I think the Tighten Up jam as used by the GD worked a really cool magic trick on the listeners - it made a seemingly improvised piece of music suddenly sound perfect and just-right and totally satisfying. Familiarity is a really powerful element in music, in general people like something more when they hear it multiple times, and it is a pretty good trick to produce the enjoyment of something familiar within the framework of an improvisation.

In other words, for a "typical" listener in 1970, the Tighten Up jam would have the best of both worlds - the newness and excitement of improvisation combined with the familiarity and satisfaction of a known theme, and without the listeners being aware of the precise reasons for their response.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 13, 2011 2:55pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

I agree - I'm sure no one in the audience would recognize, say, Feelin' Groovy - but there's no doubt about how they reacted when hearing one. The Dead had a knack for doing these sequences that *sounded* familiar even if you couldn't quite place it (heck, we're still wondering about some of those today...) - and their habit was often to place these after a passage of formlessness, or building tension, so that these happy melodic passages would be kind of a release for the audience.

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Poster: snow_and_rain Date: Jul 13, 2011 8:09am
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Hey wait!... What about the '71 Stars!

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 12, 2011 10:14pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Well that's understandable. Personally I like the Stars with no piano as there's a lot of space & clarity in the playing (combined with Garcia's more aggressive guitar tone of this year). They're more careful & unhurried, compared to the denser Stars a year later where they have more to pack in. And if you don't like the Tighten Up or Feelin' Groovy jams, naturally there will be a letdown for you since one of those is usually the climactic jam in most of these '70 Stars - in fact, once you're past the dissonant & adventurous space you get after the first verse, the rest must be all downhill!
I feel quite the opposite...I'm very fond of the aspects of these Stars you like the least.

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Poster: William Tell Date: Jul 13, 2011 12:03pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Hear! Hear!

Yup; everyone's covered it, so I won't blather on, for once.

9-19 has never wavered from its # 1 spot in my heart since 2006 or so...

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Poster: skuzzlebutt Date: Jul 12, 2011 6:41pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

Very nice and well-written post, but I must respectfully disagree: I actually think 1970 was a GREAT year for Dark Star! Cliff has cited many of the same versions I would have (6/24, 11/8, etc), so I won't recap other than to say that 2/13 and especially 9/19 are about as transcendent as "the Star" ever got IMO. From an artistic standpoint I understand the band's desire to take the song "deeper" '72-74, but I feel they frequently sacrificed the song's natural momentum and energy reserves in order to do so. That doesn't mean I don't think many of those versions are great (they are), but they also tend to drift into tedium (something I rarely find true of a 1970 Dark Star) and don't carry the same dose of magic as the 1970 versions to my ears.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 12, 2011 7:57pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

I'm one of those who finds '70 to be a top year for Dark Stars. A combination of cool spaces, beautiful melodic jams, just the right pace and guitar tones, a feeling of focus and anticipation in the music...
But you sound like you are more into just the spaces than the more "standard" thematic jamming. Perhaps 1970 was not exploratory/free-jazz enough for you? Indeed, I wonder what you find disappointing about the versions you didn't mention...

10/11/70 is a good version with a wild space and rhythmic jam, little-listened to because of the sound quality. 2/8/70 was one of the weaker '70 Stars for me - but 9/17/70 is a really great version; I thought the whole middle jam was incredibly well-done with great transitions. 11/5/70 is another strong one, very deep & spacy, though overshadowed by the more melodic 11/8.
I agree with the others that 1/2/70 is a fantastic rendition (one of my favorites, and kind of a twin to the wonderful 11/2/69 version). 6/24/70 and 9/19/70 are as amazing as everyone says. 2/2/70 is also excellent (I'm probably the only person who likes it more than the quieter 2/13 version). 1/17/70 is a relatively unsung, straightforward Star, but I love it.
And if any Star is underrated, it's 4/24/70 which is awesome - seriously one of the best jams of the whole year. (It's similar to the 7/31/71 Star in how energized it is - but it's also on a poor audience tape.)

You've probably seen this, where I covered the 1971 Stars (but threw in a review of 10/11/70 for comparison) -
http://deadessays.blogspot.com/2010/03/dark-star-1971.html

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Poster: jerlouvis Date: Jul 12, 2011 10:16pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

You hit it on the head with the thematic jamming as opposed to a more exploratory approach.I can find something to like in every version played in 70',so it is not that I find them disappointing,it is just a feeling of the music not flowing and seeming in the moment,sort of like it's a bit of a struggle and the band is out of touch with how to approach the song.I will agree that Jerry had a beautiful tone and in the versions I enjoy the most the pace seemed just right.What I am going to do is revisit the 70'-71' output and see what I see.

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Poster: light into ashes Date: Jul 12, 2011 11:22pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: TDIH 1970

After reading your other comment, I think we're on different pages as far as '70 Stars are concerned, so my favorites are probably not that thrilling for you. But our outlook is probably more similar when it comes to '71 Stars, as the ones after Keith joins are in another dimension from the early-'71 versions. (Though even then, it's often the thematic jams that excite me the most!)

This post was modified by light into ashes on 2011-07-13 06:22:57

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Poster: bkidwell Date: Jul 12, 2011 5:19pm
Forum: GratefulDead Subject: Re: Dark Star in 1970

Thanks for sharing some of your detailed listening notes. I'm listening to 10/11/70 now, I hadn't previously taken the time to listen through it - like you, I try to focus on the performance not the sound quality, but some tapes are still challenging.

I agree that the 1970 Dark Stars are not as exploratory in a sense as the 69 or 72 performances, but I think they have a lot to recommend them, still. 1970 is when you find the most "Feelin Groovy" or "Tighten Up" jams, which they usually did as a counterweight to a preceding section of weirdness/space. As a matter of fact, 9/19/70 is probably my favorite Dark Star of all, although a lot of days I might prefer 5/11/72 or 8/27/72 or 9/16/72.

In addition to the versions you mention, I think the 6/24/70 Dark Star/Attics medley is pretty exceptional.